Authors: Cat Johnson
Beneath the Surface
Rick Jones is on a mission and the answers he seeks may lie deep beneath the streets of New York within the secrets of Grand Central Terminal. While Rick goes both undercover and underground in search of clues, he encounters a woman he finds just as intriguing as the mystery he’s working to solve.
Beth Cooke’s job as a conservation expert at the landmark train station gives Rick just the in he needs to explore areas otherwise off-limits to the public. He only hope Beth isn’t equally off-limits. Rick’s determined to both satisfy his desire for her and find the answers to his questions, but will Beth believe him when the truth is finally revealed?
This story has been previously published. It has been reedited from the original version.
This is a touching story that will have readers eagerly reading to discover the secrets deep beneath the streets of New York
.” Chrissy Dionne,
BENEATH THE SURFACE
Copyright 2012 by CAT JOHNSON
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Table of Contents
Pussy was all right.
Really, what heterosexual, red blooded American male didn’t appreciate a nice cunt? But right now, Rick would rather have a beer.
Over the throbbing bass of the music, he couldn’t help but realize how sad that thought sounded in his head as the stripper on the stage in front of him bent from the waist and gave him a close up view of her assets. Yup, it was all out there on display for him, shaved clean as a whistle. Smooth as a baby’s bottom. Not even a G-string to pretend to hide what she openly showed.
He never did understand why men liked looking at things they weren’t allowed to touch. If looking led to fucking then he was all for it, but that was not an option at the moment. Although another glance at the dancer made him realize he probably wouldn’t partake even if she offered it up to him right there on a silver platter.
Besides that, Rick didn’t want to be in the spotlight. Not here, not tonight. He needed her to move her little show along now. He noticed the steroid pumped bruiser of a bouncer watching him closely from a dimly lit corner as he reached up and slid a single bill into the only garment she wore, a garter at her thigh. She wiggled her ass a few more times in his face as thanks for the tip. He looked on, appropriately appreciative, until she strutted her mile high heels and enormous high riding and definitely
God given tits over to the next lucky patron who waved some cash farther downstage.
“Mmm, mmm. Would love to get me some of that.”
Rick had smelled his informant long before he heard the familiar voice near his ear—the guy wore way too much cologne. Sipping casually at his soda while still wishing its bubbles contained hops and barley rather than sugar and caramel coloring, Rick didn’t bother turning around to speak to the man. He stayed facing forward. “Why don’t you ever want to meet at a titty bar that serves alcohol?”
“Cause in the joints that serve liquor the girls aren’t totally nude.” The man said it as if that logic made all the sense in the world. “And this place has private back rooms where the right amount of cash will get you all the way into heaven.”
That was debatable. Personally Rick would rather drink a brew than see some bush, and he wasn’t sure he would qualify what paraded in front of him as heaven, but to each his own. At least the other patrons seemed so enthralled with the show they didn’t pay much attention to the two of them as they pretended not to know each other. If his snitch came through with the information he hoped, the trip across the George Washington Bridge to this Godforsaken strip joint in Fort Lee, New Jersey would have been well worth it.
The smell of liquor permeated Rick’s nostrils over the reek of Smitty the Snitch’s cologne. No wonder the guy didn’t care there was no alcoholic beverages served on the premises. He probably had a flask hidden in his cheap suit. Whatever. Rick didn’t plan on being here any longer than he had to, ever changing unclad female scenery or no. He watched as a new nude replaced the bush-less bleached blonde. This one a natural redhead, he assumed, since the carpet matched the drapes, so to speak. She had obviously left the small triangle of curls between her thighs to let patrons know and appreciate the fact she was a true redhead.
Her hair color may be natural, but nothing else was. Rick spared a brief thought about how the local plastic surgeons must have made a small fortune on the girls in this place alone.
His own personal Deep Throat took the empty seat to his right, his eyes never leaving the new girl on stage as he asked, “Do you got what I asked for?”
Rick slipped the pack of cigarettes he’d bought on the way there out of his leather jacket and laid it next to his drink…make that soda. The snitch snatched it up and opened the lid, no doubt grinning when he saw the five twentydollar bills Rick had slid into the box. “This will get me what I want in the back room plus some. Thanks.”
Keeping his eyes on the stage, Rick asked, “Do you have what I want?”
If this sleaze was willing to turn over information that could get him killed on the streets for the price of a few lap dances and an illegal blow job, or more likely a quick fuck in the private back room with one of these girls, who was Rick to argue?
“Yup. Sure do. You ready for this? You ain’t gonna believe it.”
Rick was in no mood for this guy’s big build up or guessing games. “Try me.”
That revelation halted the drink in Rick’s hand halfway to his mouth. He lowered the glass, set it down gently, and fought to not look at his informant. He hated not being able to look into someone’s eyes. It was the best gauge he had to tell if they were lying. Rick tried to keep the shock out of his voice when he asked, “Grand Central, as in the train station?”
“You sure?” He risked one quick glance now and saw the guy grin and nod.
“Mmm hmm. One hundred percent.”
Jesus Christ. Fucking Grand Central Terminal in the middle of God damn Manhattan. Rick rose from his seat. “Thanks.”
He had barely cleared the exit before he pulled his cell phone out and had the numbers punched in. His contact answered on the first ring. Rick dispensed with the pleasantries and cut right to the chase.
“Grand. Central. Station.” He said the three words slowly and clearly, letting each one and the ramifications resonate across the cellular airwaves.
Exactly. Right under their damn fucking noses.
Beth Cooke slowed her pace and, smiling, gazed up at the constellations.
Every time she saw them, they took her breath away. Even now, years later. It didn’t matter how long ago she had been employed to conserve the crowning glory of this illustrious historical New York City monument, its beauty would never cease to affect her. The Sky Ceiling above the Main Concourse at Grand Central Terminal was the highlight of all the tourist attractions in the city in her opinion, and she couldn’t help but consider it hers. Her sweat, her patience, her time—years of it—had brought it back to life.
Someone whacked into Beth’s shoulder hard, pulling her out of her reverie while knocking her bag off of her shoulder. Frowning, she turned to her left and saw one of the many blue suited, cookie cutter businessmen who frequented the train station Monday through Friday.
“Tourist,” he mumbled as he whizzed past. Phone pressed to his ear and frown firmly in place, he shot her another less than friendly look and kept walking down the ramp to the subway, weaving in and out to avoid another collision as he passed everyone in his path.
Beth laughed at his comment. She was far from a tourist. She’d been born and raised in the city, the daughter of one of New York’s finest, but the rude man was correct about one thing—aside from Beth herself, only tourists bothered to take note of the beauty right beneath their noses. Or in this case, above their heads.
She caught sight of a small girl dressed for a big day in the city in what was obviously her best party frock, gazing gape mouthed as her mother squatted beside her and pointed up at the magnificent painted constellations. The scene reconfirmed Beth’s knowledge that all of the hours of painstaking cleaning and conservation of the terminal’s zodiac ceiling had been well worth it.
Planting her large leather satchel firmly back onto her shoulder, Beth turned to head for the terminal’s administrative offices for another day of the work she loved…until she felt a strange sensation. Turning, she caught sight of a man near the information booth, a train schedule open in his hand, but his eyes on her. Caught staring, he smiled and dropped his gaze back to the schedule.
She smiled herself, and felt her cheeks heat as she yanked her attention away. The interns she worked with were always teasing her about never having a date. Actually, more accurately, they teased her about never having sex—at least, not in recent memory. Kid nowadays had no boundaries. They’d talk about anything. Nothing was private or sacred anymore.
They told he she would forget how to have sex from lack of practice. Ha! Apparently, judging from the man’s obvious interest, she still had it even if she hadn’t used it in a while. Just because she didn’t go out with and sleep with a different guy every weekend did
make her a prude. She was just focused on her career at the moment. She had plenty of time to go out and sow her wild oats. Right? After all, she would only be turning thirty-five next month.
As she walked through the door of the offices and caught her two college Conservation and Preservation major interns in an obviously passionate embrace, she had to reconsider that thought. Suddenly, thirty-five sounded really old in her own head. It was almost forty. And after that, fifty would quickly follow, then sixty…
Resigned, she cleared her throat. “Good morning.”
They broke apart, looking more reluctant than guilty. Ahh, the exuberance of youth that can squelch shame plus so many other annoying little feelings that got in the way of enjoying life when you got older—such as Beth’s new and sudden fear that she really had become old before her time. Maybe they were correct. She did need to get some. And maybe she would as soon as she had handled the latest problem to pop up at work… If some other issue didn’t need her attention after that.
“I need you two to give me an update on those ceiling tiles down by the restaurant. We need to determine if any of the cracks have gotten worse. If so, we’ll have to take measures to stabilize them. I’m hoping the damage I found initially was simply from the renovations of the Oyster Bar. If not, we have a big problem on our hands.”
The task required only one person, but Beth knew better than to separate the two new lovebirds. They would only spend the whole time text messaging each other on their cell phones if they weren’t together.
You can’t fight love, she supposed. Might as well roll with it. And they were working for free as part of their college classes, not that that was an excuse for a shoddy work ethic. She sighed. She did sound old. Next she would be telling them how back in her day there had been no such thing as text messaging.